The Apostles and the Law

The Apostles and the Law

Scripture: Romans 7:12, Acts 10:9-14, John 15:1-11
Date: 06/14/2014  Lesson: 11
"With so much evidence for the continued validity of God's law, why do so many Christians argue against it?"

Ten Commandments Study Mark (25/Pack) by Amazing Facts

Ten Commandments Study Mark (25/Pack) by Amazing Facts
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. I am so glad that you are tuning in - whether this is your first time or you are a die-hard viewer, we are just so excited to have you and it is wonderful to be back. I have been gone for several weeks and Pastor Doug has been so gracious and said that I can give you a quick update on what I've been up to so I'm going to start right now because I don't have very much time. As you'll see in this picture right up here, I have been in the middle east with another photographer - we went with a small group - to document different biblical archaeological locations for a company here in town that is going to be doing an interactive app, a web site, and a magazine on different biblical archaeological sites. So we were traveling around turkey, Jordan, and Israel and I'm going to show you some highlights that just bring the Bible alive.

And it was so exciting to actually see these places. And the first one - we were in eastern turkey - right about twenty miles from the iranian border and it is very much how I imagine it was in the Bible times. Sheep, shepherds, rolling hills, blue sky. It was absolutely gorgeous and our first stop was Noah's ark. This is a place that many archaeologists think that this is a very important, significant, archaeological site and so we were documenting Noah's ark.

It is not on mount ararat, but it's across the valley from mount ararat, which itself is about 17,000 feet. It is a volcanic mountain so any wooden structure would, obviously, not have survived on mount ararat, but in the mountains of ararat - like the Bible says - the ark came to rest. And so this is right across the valley from ararat. It has been preserved in a mudflow and is definitely a very interesting object. The next picture you'll see puts this into - the size into perspective - that's me - the little tiny dot at the end of this big boat structure and walking around takes a very long time and there is no doubt in my mind that they could have fit thousands of animals in something that big.

It was absolutely huge and absolutely fascinating. This next picture is our group walking on the ark and there's mount ararat in the distance. And you can see all the lava - the dark stuff - has all come down the valley from mount ararat. And then we also saw these things called 'anchor stones'. These are located in various places around - in the valley and over the mountains.

They believe that these were tied to the ark, not as anchors but to stabilize it. So they were tied all the way around the ark and there's places where you find these - you can see where the rope would have - or the whatever - would have held it onto the ark - is up there at the top. So huge big rocks and very interesting - so they are all over in different valleys. On the other side of the valley from Noah's ark, down in the bottom, is this - huge big fossil deposits - massive boulders just full of fossils. This is a sand dollar that clearly didn't make it onto the ark because he is a fossil now and has been for thousands of years.

And there's just huge rocks full of sand dollars and all kinds of little sea creatures that are all now deposited down there. So it was very exciting to see that there's so much evidence of a flood at 7,000 feet where the ark is. There's all kinds of little sea creatures so it's very, very cool. Then we stopped by, in Jordan, mount nebo, which you remember, mount nebo is where Moses - he died there - but it was also where God showed him the promised land and from up there he could see where the children of Israel were going right before they crossed over Jordan river. From there you can see Jerusalem and Bethlehem and Jericho and back then it would have been lush and green, I'm told, but right now it's desert and very, very dry.

So that was mount nebo. The next place is gomorrah - you've heard of sodom and gomorrah? And God destroyed them with fire and brimstone and this is gomorrah, they believe. Here you can find all kinds of sulphur balls, which this is what sulphur balls look like. They make great souvenirs - presents to bring back. They're free and they're good conversational pieces.

So I brought back some sulphur balls. The next place is wadi rum. Wadi rum is in southern Jordan. It is believed to be the site where the children of Israel hung out in their wanderings in the wilderness for 40 years. It is a very large area but it's protected by high stone cliffs and it was definitely large enough to accommodate, you know, a million-plus people so that was very interesting to see.

Now it's just a desert populated by camels and bedouins and the few odd terrorists, but it is beautiful. And the last place I want to show you was our visit to Jerusalem. And one of the places I got to go to was the garden tomb. Archaeologists believe that this is the garden tomb where Jesus' body was laid because it fits the criteria - that it was outside of the city walls, it was in a garden, it was a rich man's tomb - clearly not everybody had lovely places like this. It was also near the crucifixion site, which was outside of the city by the damascus gate, and the major trade road came through that gate to Jericho and it was right near this site.

So that's, you know, we don't have a hundred percent proof that it is but, you know, it fits criteria and it seems like a logical place for it. The really interesting thing, in the next picture, is you can see this trough and that's in front of it where the big massive stone was rolled to close off the tomb would have been. They believe it would have been hewn from the rock to the left and then rolled on this trough and then put in place. At the end - and you can't really see it - there's a big piece of rock that would prevent it from going past the opening and then in the wall on the left there was a place where you can see there was an iron nail - nailed into the rock - like the roman seal - to stop it being opened and coming back the other way. That was very interesting.

The next picture is inside. This is what it looks like. There's - it was a family burial plot for two adults and one child right in the middle. But they believe Jesus was placed on the left hand side and you can see in the next picture - it's easier - over in the top left hand corner there's that gray rock area - the reason that they think that that's where Jesus was is because it was a borrowed tomb and they needed to quickly make it to fit his body and it, obviously, hadn't been made for longer individuals so that it was quickly hewn out of the rock and, you know, they didn't get it all nice and neat. So that's the thinking - that that's where Jesus was.

So it was just very, very cool to be inside of there. So as I was standing in there, it suddenly occurred to me that I visited, you know, so many graves and monuments and tombs to other religious, political, famous historical people around the world, but that's what it is. There lies their body - and that's cool - there they are, waiting until the resurrection - but I suddenly - it just occurred to me - and I've known this all my life - you all know it, but when you're standing inside of this empty tomb, it is the only place on the planet that's empty - that belonged or was used by a religious leader. As Christians, we are the only people that can say 'our leader is not dead waiting for the resurrection. He is alive and on the door inside of it was awesome.

The sign says, 'he is not here - for he is risen'. And that was just incredible - one of those 'ah!' Moments. I'm standing inside of there realizing, 'wow, this is where the angel came, this is where his body was. Resurrection morning that big stone which was eight feet across and massive - I mean, it's not there - they don't know where it went. You know, picked it up and moved it - you know, but that tomb is empty and, as Christians, that should be an assurance and excitement.

There's proof. He isn't here. He is risen. So on that note, that was my quick trip around the middle east and I would love us to sing a song that ties right in with that - #166 - so join with us - 'Christ the Lord is risen today'. Thank you to warren in australia, selena, jonathan and rut in the netherlands, and vicky and veronica in trinidad and tobago for picking that song with us.

At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, you are alive and you are coming back one day to get us very, very soon. We have assurance - we have hope - because your tomb is empty and on the door is a sign that says, 'he is not here - he is risen' and we know that that is the truth. I pray that you'll be with us today as we open up Your Word and we study together. Please be with our speaker.

Be with our extended family around the world and give us the blessing that you have for us. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us - oh, there he is - by pastor mike thompson. He is our health and visitation pastor here at central church. Thank you very much ladies and a happy day to you all.

Welcome to central study hour. We have a free gift today - it's a very good one - 'satan's confusing counterfeits' - for every good thing that God has given to us the devil's got some phony - whatever you want to call it - to try and pawn that off in place of the genuine. Well, this is offer #191 and if you call 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966, Amazing Facts will send you this book. And we're on the lesson - lesson #11 - 'the apostles and the law' - and the memory text is from Romans 7:12 - from Paul's epistle there it says, "therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." So having read that, I want to actually read the introduction on Sabbath afternoon's page. It's always good, I think, to do that.

It gives us a clear overview of where we are supposed to go in the lesson. So I read the following, "with so much evidence for the continued validity of God's law, why do so many Christians argue against it?" - And they do. And the author lists three things here: first, some, as we have seen, look at certain new testament texts that condemn a false understanding of the law's function but conclude that the problem is with the law itself. As a result, they claim the ten commandments are not obligatory for those under the new covenant - you've probably heard that. Second point: others are so convinced that the Sabbath is not binding on Christians that in order to justify this position, they claim that all the commandments have been crucified with Jesus on the cross.

You've heard that too as well, I'm sure. And the third one - third - some argue that the other nine commandments are in effect, but that the fourth - I wonder why the fourth - the seventh-day Sabbath - has been superceded by Sunday, which is kept in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The catholic church will be the first to tell you that. That is not the case. Anyway, numerous problems exist with all these positions - and they do.

This week we'll look at the attitude of Christ's apostles. Here's where we get some good concrete evidence from first century witnesses and actual ones who knew Christ. This week we'll look at the attitude of Christ's apostles concerning the law because surely, if it were to have been nulled or modified after Christ's death - the apostles would have known something about it - and I think that's a good thing to assume, don't you think? So first of all, we're going to look here into Sunday's lesson, 'Paul and the law'. And the fact that Paul wrote almost half of the new testament - there's a reason why he's probably the most cited when these issues come up concerning the law of God and this section on Sunday features some of the prime passages from Paul's epistles, which are used by people that we call 'antinomianists' - anti - that is 'against' or 'in place of' - nomianist - it's from the Greek word 'nomos' - which means law. So we call them antinomianists - people who believe the law, for one reason or another - has been done away with.

So as we look at these passages used by the antinomianists to prove, supposedly, that the law has been abolished, we'll find it's not the case. We'll look at some of these and we'll look at them, first of all, in isolation - out of context. Then we'll put them in their context and we'll see that the antinomianist argument just spreads its little wings and flies away - just doesn't exist anymore. We come up with the exact opposite - the law has not been abolished, it's actually established. So a well-known one in Romans :28 - and this is Paul writing this, "therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

" Do you believe that? You should, it's in the Bible. Yep, that's absolutely true - 'therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.' But, of course, it's not the whole story, is it? But that final conclusion - but what final conclusion do we draw when we read, along with this, Romans 3:31 where the same apostle, in the same chapter says, "do we make then void the law by faith?" - Question: do we make then the law void by faith? - And the answer is, "God forbid" - he says, 'God forbid' - no, he says, 'we establish the law. So another question: how is it then that faith - faith - or faith in Jesus Christ - does not cancel out the law but actually establishes it? That's a good question. So I want to read to you from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible commentary, which is abbreviated, very conveniently, as sdabc - volume 6, page 510 - it says, "the plan of justification by faith reveals God's regard for his law in demanding and providing the atoning sacrifice." - Do you follow that? - "If justification by faith abolishes law, then there is no need for the atoning death of Christ to release the sinner from his sins and, thus, restore him to peace with God." So the fact that we have this doctrine - justification by faith in Jesus Christ - we need that because there is a law that, if we get out of line with it, condemns us. So the whole fact that we speak of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ clearly implies then there's got to be a law - we've got to need somebody to spare us from the consequences of that law.

That's very clearly implied. And, of course, we're not just dealing with implications here, we're dealing with some statements later on, which tell us, very clearly, there is a law - plain as that. Now, there's another text, when read out of context, also appears to negate the law. There we are again with Paul - we're looking at Paul in Sunday's section - Romans chapter 6 and verse 14 - it says, "for sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." Is that true? It's in the Bible, of course it's true. You're not under the law, but under grace.

But again, when we put it in its fuller context, we read the next verse, Romans 15 - sorry, Romans :15 - and this antinomianist argument disappears. Romans 6:15 - Paul says, "what then? Shall we sin," - what is sin? Okay, so let's read verse 14 again - "for sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." - But then the next verse says, "what then? Shall we sin," - shall we break the law? It says, "because we are not under the law, but under grace?" - And again he says, "God forbid." Paul is simply teaching here that the law still stands. But the reference of not being under the law is in respect to not being under its condemnation. I think we've mentioned this I don't know how many times, during the series of these lessons this quarter. We're not under its condemnation because Jesus took our guilt and condemnation upon himself when he died upon the cross.

So we can stand before that law that still exists - we can stand before it - but no longer be under its condemnation. Pretty clear, right? So Paul, nowhere, teaches that Christ's death abolishes the law and as new testament creatures - Christians - well, we're creatures - we're no longer under its - we're still under its jurisdiction. Now, perhaps, Paul's greatest affirmation of the law - affirmation of the law - is our memory verse, which I read earlier on from Romans 7:12. He says, "wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just and good." Is there anything ambiguous about that? No, I should hope not. And then, further, in Romans chapter 8 - same apostle goes on to teach that the precepts of this holy and just law can actually be lived out in our lives as we enter into the experience of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.

Let's read Romans 8, verse 4 - there's no doing away with the law here - it's establishing the law and actually showing through Christ how those righteous principles can be actually lived out in our lives as we trust Christ as our Lord and Savior. Romans 8, verse 4, "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," - not for us - not just for us but in us, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Notice again, the Spirit conversion plays a crucial part in everything that we're looking at. So moving on - a lot more we can say there but I'm going to try and actually get through the lesson this week, if I can, and see how we do. Let's go on to Monday - if I do it will be a first, Michael. 'Peter and the law' - again, from the introduction in the lesson - no, actually, I take that back - I'm going straight into a passage here from 1 Peter 2:9 - 1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 9.

Peter says - speaking of God's children - "but ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;" - that doesn't mean strange - well, actually, it does, in a sense. We should be a little strange in this world compared to the secular mind. There's a marginal reading, actually, in the new testament there for peculiar - it means 'purchased' - so we're a purchased people. Is that true? What have we been purchased with? Precious blood of Jesus Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot. So it cost God dearly and yet it costs us nothing.

Amazing. So when Peter says this: "but ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation" - he's actually echoing a declaration that God made about his people Israel at Mount Sinai. Let's go back to Exodus 19 and verse 6 - Exodus 19 and verse 6 - this is what God said a long time before - about 3,500 years before. God says here, just before he declares the Ten Commandments - Exodus 19:6 - "ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation." - He says, 'you will be that'. And God's biddings, of course, are enablings - God gives grace.

But when God says, 'you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation, at the same time, God also declared a certain two - two particular conditions that Israel would have to meet in order to be accepted by him as a kingdom of priests and an holy nation. Still in Exodus 19 - let's go back to the previous verse - verse 5 - notice here two major preconditions - see if you can notice them, "now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed...then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:" - now, there's two things here and, actually I missed a little bit - I missed a bit out here. Let me go back to - I'm just reading from my notes but I wanted to read from Exodus 19:5 because I missed a little bit out there. Exodus 19, verse 5, "now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed," - is that a condition? Yeah - "and keep my covenant" - would you say that was a condition? Yes - "then" - he says - "they shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:" - so therefore there are conditions. It was not for them to walk around and say, 'oh, you know, we're a kingdom of priests.

Oh, we're such a holy nation.' Well, they needed to be but actually they weren't most of the time. But they could have been if they'd fulfilled those two preconditions: obey me; keep my covenant - and the grace was there all the time, same as that grace is here with us even now. So those conditions not only apply to Israel - conditions about how you could be a royal priesthood, a holy nation - not only applied to Israel about ,500 years ago - not only applied to the Christians in Peter's day 2,000 years ago, but they also apply to us today who are looking for the soon return of Jesus, right? Are we supposed to be a royal priesthood? A holy nation? I should think so, yeah. They were - the Israelites were right on the borders of the promised land - they didn't actually go in because they messed up. But they're right on the borders of the promised land and God says you need to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation.

We are right on the borders, also, of the heavenly canaan, and if ever there was a generation that needed to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation, it's this one - it's you and it's me. I won't get into what happened at baal-peor - that's another story in itself - but here we are. We're the remnant church - the last church from the bolt of cloth, if you like, that's been unraveled over the years with generations of Christians. We're the remnant. In Revelation 14:12 that remnant is supposed to be holy.

They are they that keep what? The commandments of God - is that a condition? Yes, to being a royal priesthood and a holy nation - and have the faith of Jesus. Is that a condition? Yes, it is. You have to make that a condition. If you don't have faith in Jesus it's a condition. You cannot be part of God's remnant church.

You cannot be a royal priesthood and a holy nation. And so, to measure up to such a standard, we must act - I'm sorry - we must accept and act upon the admonition that Peter gave to the church in his day. 1 Peter 2:11 - this is what he said - he says, "dearly beloved," - if you want to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation he says, "dearly beloved," - 1 Peter 2:11 - "I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;" here's where it's at my friends. I won't - it's a temptation to go to baal-peor but I won't, but you know what happened there. They gave way to fleshly lusts that war against the soul and our human natures are no different.

In fact, they had 3,500 years - they were 3,500 years closer to being the offspring of adam. They were perverted enough but here we're 3,500 years further downstream so we're even more weak. And yet we have this challenge and this admonition to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation, so we have to measure up to that. But God's biddings are God's enablings. But listen to this - listen to this - this applies to us.

And listen to councils on health page 568, paragraph 2. There's a little subtitle - 'patterns of piety' - the publishers put that in, but this is what the servant of the Lord says, "Seventh-day Adventists" - now who are those? Are you a Seventh-day Adventist? Then this is for you and for me. "Seventh-day Adventists, above all other people" - above what other people? - All - "all other people in the world should be patterns of piety, holy in heart and in conversation. Should they who make so high a profession indulge in sin and iniquity, their guilt would be very great." - Now our guilt would be greater - would it be greater than baptists? I think so. We have more light.

Would our guilt be greater than catholics? I believe so. They should know what's right and wrong, but we have more light than anybody else. So their guilt - our guilt would be very great. Those who do not control their base passions cannot appreciate the atonement or place a right value upon the soul - even their own soul." You know that's a fact? You can indulge so much in sin your conscience is so blunted, your mind is so fuzzy and dumbed down, you don't even care about yourself. But if that mind could be cleared through healthful living and you had that acuity and clarity back, you would realize the value of your own soul and you would see more clearly the peril that your own soul is in and you would tremble.

This is why satan leads people into sin because they become careless - become numb and dumb - and they can hear a preacher speak - even a good old southern baptist preacher preach about hellfire. It doesn't phase them, they just go on their way looking for their next forbidden pleasure. So we, too, can get just as dumbed down and not be able to appreciate - put a right value on our own soul - salvation is not appreciated or understood by them - by us. - "The gratification of animal passion is the highest ambition of their lives." Can you believe that? Some people, their highest ambition is to just use some organs - whether it's their stomach or their sexual organs - that's all they live for - the next thrill or pleasure from some organ of their body made of flesh that's getting old - will decay - might even become cancerous - but they don't care. That's all they live for.

Animals have more of an excuse, very often, than human beings. It's a fact. The gratification of animal passion is the highest ambition of their lives. God will accept nothing but purity and holiness. One spot, one wrinkle, one defect in the character, will forever debar them from heaven with all its glories and treasures.

" So to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation, we've got to be sure that we're not slaves to appetite and passion. And we're all prone to it - we're all - I remember, once, reading something by Ellen white. She knew this lady who liked to smoke a pipe and this lady heard that she couldn't smoke a pipe in heaven and she said, 'I don't want to go.' Can you believe it? 'If I can't take my pipe to heaven, I don't want to go.' So I guess she didn't go. You know what? She wouldn't be able to smoke a pipe in hell either. So, you know, so why not give it up and go to a nicer place? Solemn admonition, but - but there is hope.

There's always - you know, God knocks us down sometimes, right? His Word just cuts us off by the knees sometimes and we need it. But God is good and kind and merciful. With the same hand he cuts us off by the knees, he picks us up and encourages us. Jesus is a great encourager and so is his servant Ellen white. In the very next paragraph I read this: "ample provisions have been made for all who sincerely and earnestly and thoroughly set about the work of perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Strength, grace, and glory have been provided, through Christ, to be brought by ministering angels to the heirs of salvation." - Doesn't that sound good? - "None is so low, corrupt and vile that they cannot find, in Jesus who died for them, strength, purity and righteousness. If they will put away their sins" - or just at least be willing - say, 'Lord, help me do the rest' - he'll help you - "if they would be willing to put away their sins, cease their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God." Can you say 'amen'? Amen. Okay, I'm trying to be good. I'm moving on to Tuesday. I can say an awful lot more right there but let's see what we can do today.

I'm going to read from Tuesday's lesson - a little bit from the first paragraph. We're looking at John - 'John and the law'. John knew a lot of personal information about Jesus - and he surely did. Surely one who was as close to Jesus as John would have known if Jesus had set aside God's law. And I think there's absolutely a hundred percent truth in that, don't you? If anybody would have known, John would.

Well, it's very clear in John's Gospel and his epistles that Jesus never declared any such intent to as beloved a disciple as John that he was going to abolish the law - nothing. I'm going to read from John :10 here. This is what Jesus said and John wrote it down. Jesus said, "if you love" - sorry - "if you keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love." Clear as anything, right? 'If you keep my commandments you shall abide in my love,' John :10 - but then in John 14:15 he says, "if you love me keep my commandments. So what comes first? Is that a fair question? What comes first, keeping God's commandments and abiding in his love or loving Christ and then keeping his commandments? Anything come first? Well, there's no contradiction here, but there is a sequence through which loving Jesus and obeying Jesus - both of these things come perfectly together - loving him and keeping his commandments and keeping his commandments because we love him.

And the uniting factor that brings this all together is found in the term 'abide'. You've heard that term before, abide. In John chapter 15, in the first verses - we're not going to read it all, but have a look afterwards if you want. Jesus uses the word or the term 'abide' nine times. That's quite significant.

And, also, the term 'abide' is implied as well. If you go through it you'll see that it's implied in several instances. Let me give you an example: in John 15, verse 4 - count how many times 'abide' comes in here. Here's where we start putting it all together. Jesus said, "abide in me and I in you.

" - Okay, so there's an implied 'abide', right? Is that correct? He says, "abide in me and I (abide) in you." - So there's two - "as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye" - what? - "Abide in me." So that's four references to the word - the term - 'abide' there. And if we understand abiding in Christ to mean that the glorious, glorious mystery - wonderous mystery of conversion - where he dwells in us and, mysteriously, we become one with him, we dwell in him and him in us, then the following will naturally take place. Now listen to this: "if you abide in me" - there we have it again - "and my words abide in you" - so when Jesus comes and he abides in us, he brings his words and His Words abide in us as well. And what are Jesus' words? It's his teachings. It's his law, right? It's the words of his law.

They come and he puts them in our minds and hearts. And here is where the sequence then begins: if you abide in Christ through conversion, his words - his teaching and his law - abide in us as he fulfills in us the new testament promise where he says he'll write his law in our minds and hearts. Let me read it, Hebrews 10:16 - he says, "this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;" so we abide in Christ through conversion - his word - he brings His Word with us and fulfills his new testament promise that he'll put his law in us. Then, because we're converted and filled with a love for Jesus Christ, and His Word becomes - His Word becomes our desire and it's our joy to walk in the ways of his commandments and, therefore, it becomes natural. He says, 'if you love me' - 'Lord, I do' - 'then keep my commandments' - 'I want to' - so it all fits together.

If we abide in him, you see, there's really nothing mysterious about being a Christian and having a Christian experience. You go to Jesus, you say, 'Lord, I want to be one with you. I know a little bit of the Bible - I don't know a lot, but show me.' And he'll send an angel or send the Holy Spirit or send somebody into your life to show you, as a little child, how you can become a Christian. It's not hard. It's a wonderful thing.

But then this experience of us abiding in Christ and we keep His Word because we love him and - well, you know, I did it two ways around - but this experience goes further than living to simply reciprocate our love for God because he loves us. He moves upon us to also make us a channel of his love toward others. And here's the thing: a born-again Christian is supernaturally filled with a new joyous, instinctive desire to share their experience - to share the love of Jesus - with others and to labor for the salvation of souls. You know what I'm talking about? I remember the day after I was baptized, I was living - I moved into this apartment by myself - right by the river - just at the end of the street there was a river. And that Sunday morning I got up and - been baptized the day before and 'wow, I'm a brand-new Seventh-day Adventist and Jesus is in my heart' - and I was just happy and I just couldn't sit in that room.

I wanted to go out and tell somebody. So I got a few tracts and I was a little scared because it was new to me but, walking by the river, somebody comes by and 'hey, I'd like to give you this.' Then I'd move on, you know? But I got back to my apartment and I thought, 'I shared the love of Jesus.' It should be natural, you see. And it should become so natural that it becomes a way of life - that we'll do it unconsciously. Let's see how Jesus cited the fact that we will do it unconsciously. Matthew 25 - you know this passage very well.

Let's look at it again - Matthew , verses 31 through 40. These are those that Jesus commends in the judgment. It says - Matthew 25:31-40, "when The Son of man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit upon the throne of his glory: all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:" - now we're looking at the sheep this morning - "and he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right hand, 'come, you blessed of my father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:'" - it says - "'I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?'" - Why? Because it's just a way of life - "and then the King" - verse 40 - "shall answer and say unto them, 'verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'" And these people stand there and think, 'well, I never realized half of it.' It's just a way of being. I read a statement just a few days ago where it says a sign of our characters perfecting - getting to perfection - is we instinctively just fill with the desire to do things for people.

That's what heaven's like. It's a place where people instinctively do stuff for others. Okay, Wednesday - let's move on -'James and the law'. Again, in the lesson - in the introduction - it says, "again, if Jesus had intended to abrogate or do away with the divine law, his own brother, James, certainly would have known." James was the brother of Jesus and you would think that Jesus' brother James would have known something about it, but James - not a word to say about it. Well, it's obvious that Jesus made no such declaration to his brother because James also strongly upholds the law.

And in James 2, verses 8 through - I'll read this quickly here. It says, "if ye fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin," - what is sin? Transgression of the law, okay - "and are convicted of the law as transgressors, for whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, 'do not commit adultery,' said also, 'do not kill.' Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." So there are some who mistakenly believe that James is totally out of sync with Paul. We read Paul - Paul makes it very clear that the law is in effect. Some people say, you know, martin luther called the apostle of - the epistle of James an epistle of straw.

But he's not out of sync with the great apostle Paul. Paul very much so emphasized that we're saved by grace - we're saved through grace and not by works and - but, however, Paul did emphasize the importance - I'm sorry - however, while Paul emphasized the importance of salvation by grace through faith, he in no way relegated obedience to the law to a secondary place of importance. He didn't do that. Again, citing our memory verse, Romans 7:12, "wherefore the commandment is holy and just and good." And here's a real clincher from Paul - we're talking about James but we're just contrasting him with Paul for a moment. Romans 2:13 - Paul says, "for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

" So here in Romans 2:13 Paul is on the same page exactly - taking the same approach to the law as James is in chapter 2. They're both saying, 'here's the law. You can't be justified if you neglect it and you reject it and you cast it away and you willfully violate it. You just can't do that. Now returning again to James chapter 2, verse 12, he says, "so speak ye and so do as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

" Remember, we just read James 8 through 11 about the law and now he continues on here, "so speak ye and do as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." So here, too, James solidly affirms the law as he cites it as the great moral standard by which we will all be judged. And we could rephrase James' statement as follows - first of all, let me read the original one - he says, "so speak ye and do as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." We could rephrase that and say that James is saying, 'obey God's commandments because you will be judged by it one day.' We could certainly do that. We are justified in doing that. And in giving this testimony, what James said is in absolute perfect harmony with the first angel's message - Revelation :6 and 7 - especially verse 7. It says in Revelation 14:7 - it says, "fear God, and give glory to him; for" - what? - "The hour of his judgment is come" we could rephrase that - Revelation 14:7 - we could rephrase it and say, 'obey God's commandments and give glory to him for the hour of his judgment is come.

' And then the rephrased one of James is 'obey God's commandments for you will be judged by them one day.' So what James is saying is in total harmony with the first angel's message and in total harmony with what Paul says, but what I need to do is give you some cite here - the biblical evidence that enables us to be able to take the term 'fear God' and show that it's synonymous with keeping his law. I hope you're following me here. Back there in Exodus - Exodus 20 - where God had listed all the Ten Commandments and he went from Exodus 20, verse 1 all the way down to verse 17, immediately almost afterwards in verse 20, we read these words: "and Moses said unto the people, 'fear not for God has come to prove you that his fear may be before your faces that you sin not." So to fear God means to sin not and to sin not is what? To not break the law, right? So we can say that Moses said unto the people, 'fear not for God is come to prove you that you - that his fear may be before you that you keep his commandments.' So, Ecclesiastes , verse 13 - this kind of very clearly ties all this up here - Ecclesiastes chapter 12, verses and 14 - it says, "let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and" - what? - "Keep his commandments." Again, we see there that 'fear God' means it's synonymous with keeping his commandments. "Fear God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole duty of man.

For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." So James is right on when he says that faith is okay but you've got to have the works of the law with it as well. And I'll just conclude this section by reading, again, from James chapter 2. He's absolutely right on as our good friend here, James - James , verse 20 - he says, "but wilt thou know, o vain man, that faith without works" - that is, without the law - "is dead?" And he also says, in verse 26, "for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." And then he says in verse 12, "so speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." Very clear. And as in James we are given a picture of judgment, in Jude too we also get a picture of judgment as well. He doesn't mention law but he brings judgment in, which tells us there has to be a law.

There has to be a law because if there was no law there could be no sin. Nothing could be designated as sin and it only can be designated as sin by virtue of the fact that the law is in effect. So to summarize: if there's no sin, there's no guilt. If there's no guilt, why do we need to have a judgment? There's no need to have a judgment, because if stealing and murdering is not a sin we can remain in a state of perpetual innocence and have a legal right to go to heaven and live up there just any old way we please that we have down here upon this earth. Silly reasoning, isn't it? But that is actually the reasoning that people have out there that say, for one reason or another, 'no, the law has been abolished - totally abolished.

' But God does, indeed, have a holy and a sacred law and there are dire consequences awaiting those who turn from the decalogue regardless of how highly regarded they may have been by God. This is from Jude 5 - here's the one we're looking at - he doesn't mention the law but he certainly speaks about judgment and transgression, which means there has to be a law. Verse 5, "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." - And the great moral standard in the judgment is the law - verse 7, "even as sodom and gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh," - he's speaking there of homosexuality - "are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." So, is it very clear that there is a judgment? If there's no law there could be no judgment - and our time is gone. But we've looked at Paul, looked at John, looked at James, we've looked at Jude, and we'd look a little further if we could but our time is gone this morning.

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